Sunday Reads

Will this be a regular feature? Who can tell? Maybe I'll try and schedule it for Sunday morning in future.

Why the Wachowskis’ Flop ‘Speed Racer’ Is Actually a Masterpiece

My memory of Speed Racer was of a fairly good little film, but after reading this I need to revisit it. I'm not a rabid Wachowskis fan, though I do like their films and think their oeuvre is going to be worth revisiting in the future. Behind all the genre-fluff there's an interesting overarching subtext waiting to be knitted together.

It’s Tough Being a Right Whale These Days

This article is horrific and not for the faint of heart as it details the traumas inflicted on whales by man from Viking hunts to the present day hellscape of the northeastern US seaboard without pulling any punches. But beyond that it also raises some interesting questions about the status of "wild" animals in the Anthropocene, positing that they can't be considered wild anymore.

The traditional view of animal welfare has been that we’re responsible for animals under our care—pets, livestock, zoo animals, laboratory animals. Concerns about wild-animal welfare have typically ended at the question of what we put them through as we kill them.

That began to change in the 1990s. [...] “Much of the Earth’s surface is now under human control, partial control, or influence, and this inevitably often affects the fate of wild animals. We have a degree of responsibility for their welfare.”

A quarter-century later, Jennifer Jacquet, an assistant professor in environmental studies and animal studies at New York University, is more emphatic. “Is there wild-animal suffering anymore? I mean, are there wild animals? Is there suffering in the wild, or are there just human-altered animals suffering from human-caused harms?”

Why restaurants became so loud — and how to fight back

Of interest because I can't stand restaurants these days. Yes, my tolerance for noisy public spaces has hit an all time low, but the acoustics of these places is always atrocious, often after a fancy, much celebrated refurbishment. See also Birmingham's fancy new Apple store which has no sound-absorbent surfaces anywhere and is a nightmare to be in.

The Bullshit Web

Another reminder that as the speed and capacity of our internet infrastructure has grown, it has mostly been filled with shit, especially on pages that should just contain text and a few images. I made an art about this last year which tried to manifest the scale of the issue but didn't really address the weight, the energy used for all these trackers. Hmm.

The Anatomy of a Comparative Illusion

An academic-ish text which attempts to understand why humans will think sentences like "More people have been to Russia than I have" or "Can a man marry his widow’s sister?" make sense, until they think about them for a surprisingly long time before realise they're nonsense. As someone who constantly skims and misreads stuff, and who is interested in how we perceive the world so badly, this is good stuff.

The British Heat Wave and Aerial Archeology

This has cropped up a lot over the last month with photos of fields revealing foundations of lost buildings and layouts of lost farms. In Stirchley Park we have an amazing perfect circle where a bandstand once was, looking as if a Alien ship burned it into the grass one night. And it's all because some patches of soil are deeper, or denser, than others. Fascinating stuff.